English 203

Graduate Readings: Modernism and the Public Sphere

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2022 Flynn, Catherine
TuTh 3:30-5 Wheeler 337


A series of works in the last twenty years has complicated the notion that modernism is characterized by a preoccupation with interiority, arguing for public culture as a crucial space for the construction of modernism. This course asks how modernist interiority and technologies of dissemination affect one another and how this changes our understanding of the politics of the movement. We will consider modernist works with Jürgen Habermas’s concept of the public sphere, in which multiple registers and perspectives encounter one another in an open and democratic realm of discourse. How can an investigation of modernists’ staging and undermining of normative or ideal speech situations inform our understanding of modernist language and of the political capacities of the movement? Our discussion will address novels, plays, poems, manifestos, little magazines, newspaper columns, radio plays and addresses, cartoons, and films by figures including Samuel Beckett, André Breton, Alfred Jarry, James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Flann O’Brien, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, H. G. Wells, and W. B. Yeats.

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